Town Hall Tower

Rynek Główny 1, Kraków

The tower is the only remnant of the Kraków town hall (reaching the level of Szewska Street), which was the seat of the municipal authorities from Middle Ages to the 19th century. It was built around 1300 as a 2-storey stone building, with a tower that served defensive purposes, but at the same time was a symbol of power and elegance. Over the following centuries, the town hall and its tower were repeatedly rebuilt. The most important of the halls in the tower was the so-called Lords' Chamber, (serving as an assembly chamber and a courtroom), whose rich décor was to testify to the authority of the Kraków municipality. It was adorned with a coffered vault (similar to the one in Wawel), a portal with an inlaid door (today it can be seen in Collegium Maius) and columnar window frames. In order to maintain balance and convey a sort of warning, the underground contained a prison with an adjoining torture chamber. As of the 18th century, the edifice underwent gradual decay. Between 1817 and 1820, the empty and ruined building of the town hall was taken apart as part of a larger initiative whose purpose was to "beautify" the city. The structure was pulled down even though it was still possible to rebuild it. The only element that remained was a tower, to which a classicist guardhouse (watchtower) was added in the 1880s. Between 1881 and 1882, a new, this time neo-Gothic guardhouse was built, although it was removed after World War II as a symbol of the Austrian reign during Patritions. Until 1934, a ceremonial changing of the guards took place each day in front of the guardhouse. During the renovation and reconstruction conducted in the 1960s, its cellars were converted into a café, which was to be the successor of a famous mediaeval establishment that served the best beer in Poland. Since 1987, the cellars also house the Ludowy Theatre. The Town Hall Tower is one of the branches of the Historical Museum of Kraków.
Date: 2013-06-06 Show ticket
News author: Weronika Dulowska
News Publisher: Portal główny EN
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